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Would Like To Start Baking With gluten-free Flour... Just Don't Know How/what
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Hi I am staring a gluten-free for my 8 year old daughter and bake a lot with regular flour but would like to make all of my normal baking items but gluten-free. I have tried to buy sandwich bread which she notices has a different tast and is very hard. If I bake my own is the taste similar to the stuff store bought and would it be softer? I know that's a silly question. Just haven't had any experience with gluten-free bread/dough/sweets.

Do I just substitute the flour in any recipe?

What is this gum I keep reading about?

Can I use yeast, baking power, baking soda?

Any tips or recipes would be greatly appreciated.

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Gluten free baking is really quite different from gluten baking. You will generally need to mix different types of gluten free flour to get a good result. Perhaps two starches and one higher protein flour. The starchy flours are white and brown rice, tapioca, potato, cornstarch and arrowroot. To these you can add soy, sorghum, buckwheat, bean and pea flours, quinoa, amaranth, millet, teff. So you can see there is a wide variety to work with. You can also use almond flour/meal, coconut, and other nut meals, various seeds such as flaxseed (either ground or whole). You still use rising agents like yeast, baking powder and baking soda. The xanthum and/or guar gums are added to give a better consistency and stop the finished product from crumbling.

I would suggest checking out the recipe section on the forum for ideas on what to bake, and also googling gluten free recipes for bread or whatever else you wish to bake. One favorite site of mine is glutenfreegoddess. Take a look around, look at the recipes and methods, and come back and ask specific questions if you have them.

ETA: Once you get used to working with gluten free doughs, well actually they are all more like batters, then you will understand the textures and principles and can start modifying regular recipes and making them gluten free.

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Try to see if you can find a store with the Udi's gluten free bread, or try mail ordering it, which is supposed to be the closest to regular bread in texture and fairly good on taste. (it has one ingredient that I don't eat, so I'm limited to smelling it, bending it, and asking my spouse what it tastes like :lol: ) This would give you a baseline on what can be done on a commercial basis. If there are any gluten free bakeries within driving distance, you can also try to sample some of that. Gluten free bread does not have to be hard, or taste really weird.

The "gum" that everyone is referring to is either xanthan gum or guar gum, and they are used with gluten free flours to help create elasticity in the doughs, which would otherwise tend to be crumbly, because gluten is what gives dough that rubbery, sticky texture to hold air bubbles to be able to rise with leavening or with yeast. Other gum substitutes are flax gel, made with flax and warm water, or chia gel, chia seed and cool water, or even tapioca gel. Also, buckwheat seed and amaranth seed flours are a bit stickier than others, and a bit of those in a recipe helps with the texture. Amaranth is a mysterious mold inhibitor, when baked breads are stored in the refrigerator. :) Almond meal works well in recipes made with eggs, without gums, such as pancakes and small quick breads.

Almost anything you make will be better than store - bought, taste wise, although it may be denser in texture. This is because you can customize ingredients to suit your tastes and what is available. Microwave small quick breads tend to be softer in texture than oven baked.

You can use yeast, or baking soda and vinegar, or baking powder, sometimes baking powder is added to yeast recipes to give it a bit more rise. Yeast can be a bit trickier with gluten free, as typically these are softer, wetter batter doughs instead of dough- doughs, depending on the recipe.

You can try substituting gluten free flour mixtures (usually with the proper amount of gums) into regular gluten free recipes, but the results will be mixed, because they don't exactly act the same way. Typically these recipes will be for something like the Bette Hagman mixtures where you take about 1/3 each rice, tapioca, and cornstarch or potato starch for "white" flour and use that in a regular cake recipe. But the best thing to do is to use a gluten free recipe that others have already tinkered with. Or use a specific premade flour mixture and its associated recipes. Bread flour recipes tend to use different mixtures than for cake or pie crust, to get the better result. The typical bread recipe with the rice/tapioca/potatostarch is going to tend to be a little dry after a day or two. :rolleyes:

Gluten free recipes sometimes also need to be baked at a slightly lower temperature for a longer period of time because the flours might tend to burn a little at the regular temperature for wheat. And bread pans that are smaller work better than regular size 9 x 4" pans, so you might end up making 2 smaller loaves instead of one big one. Also, always test the item for doneness before you pull it out of the oven, by pressing it gently with a fingertip, then sticking a knife into it, and making sure the knife comes out clean, not sticky. Again, different flours bake at different speeds. For breads, putting a crease or groove down the middle of the dough before it goes into the oven or microwave helps the dough in the middle cook through.

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I've had really good luck baking w/ Better Batter flour... an all-purpose, cup-for-cup gluten free flour. I have to order it online as I live in the middle of nowhere. http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com is my fave site for baking. Enjoy!

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Takala gave great info.

I just wanted to add my two cents..

My experience with xanthan gum has not been great it can be hard to digest. I have not tried guar gum but it is suppose to be less expensive. You can also substitute gelatin in some cake and muffin recipes or just omit xanthan gums but with yeast bread you do need some type of gum or flax seed or chia seed.

I have made a few (wheat) cookie recipes using just rice flour and sweet rice flour at a 2 to 1 ration and my peanut butter and chocolate chip recipes came out okay. I did not add xanthan gum. You will notice rice flour tends to absorb more liquid IMO so you should cut some of the flour by about 1/4 then add as needed. Flour brands also make a difference Bob Red mills is stoneground and tends to have a gritty flavor. The thai or asian rice flour at asian stores is very fine and does make a difference.

I made a few things with tapioca before we found out we were allergic and it is not a good addition to cakes it makes the cake chewy it is best in breads.

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Go to the library and pick up a few gluten-free cookbooks, there are A LOT out there, I know my library has about 20, slowly making my way through them. As for bread, luckily for us, the first one I tried was Udi's, my Trader Joe's sells it on the shelf vs freezer, so I was able to push a tad on it and figure our it was much softer than the other ones, and the girl said it was the best one. It's good, I don't think you'll ever find one that taste like wheat bread. I find it too sweet, my quest is to be able to bake an "Udi's like" bread at home, it has a texture very similar to regular bread. So far, I have a lot of work ahead of me! LOL! Good luck!

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I have not ventured out to baking bread from scratch yet (though I have had good results from pamela's bread mix).

I have tried baking some of my old tried and true gluten recipes with the following substitutions:

Bob's red mill all purpose gluten-free baking flour + xantham gum - same amount that recipe calls for

I have also substituted almond milk and earth balance for milk/butter since I am not eating dairy.

I have made both zucchini bread and congo bars with these substitutions and have gotten great reviews from all of my gluten-eating friends.

I am not sure how well this will work in all recipes, but if you have some favorites, that is where I would start. It is much easier than having to deal with buying/storing/mixing multiple flours...

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I was once a pretty good cook but everything I've tried with gluten free flour has turned out terrible. I have lost all confidence in baking. Maybe I'm like the old dog that can't be taught new tricks. :blink:

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Once a cook, always a cook. You just have to learn some new tricks (and they can be learned no matter how old the dog ;) Tell us how and what you are having problems with and we'lll help, promise :)

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Once a cook, always a cook. You just have to learn some new tricks (and they can be learned no matter how old the dog ;) Tell us how and what you are having problems with and we'lll help, promise :)

How long have you been gluten intolerant i just was diagnosed with celiac disease and trying to learn new ways to cook :D  :D is a PITA :lol:  :lol:

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How long have you been gluten intolerant i just was diagnosed with celiac disease and trying to learn new ways to cook :D  :D is a PITA :lol:  :lol:

 

Five years..... and I never promised you it wasn't a PITA :D   I merely said that with time, money, and ingenuity, it can be done :lol:

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